Take into account a Coppin State team that likes to shoot threes, and not very well, you have what turned out to be one of the uglier games in Duck history.
Ugly or not, Oregon is happy to be 1-0 after a 70-54 win over the Eagles of the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference Friday night.
After a near flawless first half, the Ducks had trouble on both ends of the floor in the final 20 minutes of the game. Coppin State was able to slice a 28-point deficit in half, causing the Duck faithful and the Ducks themselves a bit of anxious moments.
But whenever Oregon needed to snap out of a scoreless drought or to stop an Eagle run, Payton Pritchard was right there to hit a big shot.
The sophomore point guard just scored 10 points, but he also brought down eight rebounds and dished out four assists.
Coppin State’s late rally ended once it made it 64-54 with 2:53 remaining on Lamar Morgan’s deep three. Oregon clamped down on the defense and scored the last six points of the game.
Roman Sorkin eclipsed his career high in the first half on his way to 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting that included four treys. He also grabbed seven rebounds.
In his collegiate debut, top recruit Troy Brown was impressive with his 18 points and five rebounds in 32 minutes of action.
The Ducks began the game on a 14-2 run before going scoreless for almost six minutes, which included missing nine straight shots. That drought seems like a blip on the radar in comparison of the Eagles’ lack of accuracy.
Coppin State didn’t make its first field goal until the 12:30 mark when Tre Thomas made a shot. The Eagles also missed their first nine shots from long range until lefty DeJuan Clayton nailed a deep three to make it 17-7. Coppin State ended the first half shooting 4-of-28 (14.3 percent) from the field.
Head coach Dana Altman had seen enough and put the starters back in the game and put on a press. A 15-0 run ensued and the Ducks eventually went into the locker room with a commanding 42-14 lead.
The offensive outburst was spearheaded by Troy Brown’s 12 points and Sorkin’s 18 first half points.
Most of Oregon’s highlights occurred in that first half because the second half wasn’t nearly as good. After shooting 50 percent from the field in the opening half, the Ducks percentage dropped to 38 percent in the second half.
Conversely, coach Juan Dixon’s Coppin State team found some offensive rhythm and confidence. The Eagles made 6-of-17 from long distance in the second half to make the final score respectable. Dixon was a member of Maryland’s national championship team of 2002.
The first year head coach said before the season that his team won’t be shy in shooting the ball and although most of them didn’t go down on this night, there will be nights where the Eagle will hit those shots and will be dangerous down the road.
Thankfully for Oregon, that night didn’t come against them and the Ducks can now prepare for their second game, Nov. 13 against Prairie View A&M. Tip is set for 6 pm on the Pac-12 Network.
~ Don Smalley